Hillel Day School
(Courtesy of Hillel Day School)

One staffer tested positive and is quarantining at home, letters to parents said.

After a COVID-19 scare, Hillel Day School will indeed start in-person classes on Wednesday, Sept. 2.

In a pair of letters to families this week, Dr. Darin S. Katz, Head of School at Hillel, said the school had been made aware that one Hillel staff member (referred to as Staff #1) had been diagnosed with COVID-19 and that another staff member (referred to as Staff #2) had symptoms consistent with COVID-19, but ultimately tested negative for the virus.

The first letter, sent Sunday, Aug. 30, stated that both cases were presumed to be unrelated to each other, that the cases were presumed to not have been contracted at school and that both individuals previously tested negative when all staff members were tested at Hillel on Tuesday, Aug. 18. A follow-up letter sent Monday, Aug. 31 stated that Staff #2, who had previously tested negative for a rapid COVID test, had also tested negative for a molecular nasal PCR test, and that the school would indeed begin in-person learning on Wednesday, Sept. 2, as scheduled.

Staff #1, who was in the building on Tuesday, Aug. 25, was said to have maintained a six-foot distance from other staff members, was masked inside the building and presumed to have had no contact with students or parents at that day’s Meet and Greets.

“Per our school protocols, school nurse Gail Chynoweth conducted extensive contact tracing for this staff member, and also contacted the Oakland County Health Division,” the letter stated.

Six teachers who span all across the Hillel K-8 communities were known or presumed to have come into contact with Staff #2 for more than 15 minutes. Dr. Katz’s second letter said that the Oakland County Health Division had confirmed these six staff members no longer needed to quarantine after the negative COVID test results were revealed.

All Hillel students have a choice between an in-person and flexible learning model, which allows any student who wants to learn from home to do so.

Hillel also reiterated that Staff #1, who tested positive for COVID-19, has been out of the building since the previous Wednesday. “We have no concerns of exposure following our extensive contact tracing and confirmation from the Oakland County Health Department. This staff member continues to convalesce at home and we wish this staff member a full recovery,” the letter said.

“The health and safety of our entire community is paramount every year, and especially this year,” Dr. Katz wrote in a statement to the JN on Tuesday. “We are grateful that our staff member is feeling better, and are excited to welcome students to school tomorrow. We are going to have a great year!”

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